COA Children's Center Closing

College of Alameda Children's Center ClosingPhoto: COA Children's Center

Parents attending Peralta Colleges face another obstacle in the path towards education.

At the Jan. 26 Board of Trustees meeting, Interim Vice-Chancellor of Educational Services Dr. Wise Allen announced a proposal to close the College of Alameda Children’s Center.

"In order to operate within the budget in the childcare program," Dr. Allen said, "we’re proposing to close down the facility at the College of Alameda."

"In order to operate within the budget in the childcare program, we’re proposing to close down the facility at the College of Alameda. This is our only choice."
Dr. Wise Allen
He said state cuts to categorical funds resulted in Peralta receiving $380,000 less than previous years.

Under the proposal, the COA Children’s Center may be leased out to get additional revenue to support the other Children’s Centers at Merritt and Laney colleges in Oakland. Berkeley City College contracts with Bananas for childcare.

Dr. Allen said Peralta would continue to serve approximately 120 children, the combined number currently served by the three children’s centers. Allen anticipates meeting this goal by “reshuffling staff patterns” and “perhaps reducing staff.”

"This is our only choice,” he said.

Peralta’s Childcare Program, “Fund 68”, is funded through a combination of monies from the U.S. Department of Education and money allocated to community colleges by the state. According to Allen, the current staff levels have been maintained because a full allocation of $750,000 came from the state, combined with $921,000 from the federal government.

"With a carry-over balance, we were able to fund the status quo. We no longer have those dollars."
Dr. Wise Allen
"With a carry-over balance, we were able to fund the status quo,” Allen said. “We no longer have those dollars."

The COA Children's Center currently serves preschool children ages 3-5 at a cost of $750 per month (full-time). The cost is $560 per month for under 32 hours per week.

Peralta's contract with the state would be amended this spring, with the closure effective July.

In 2006, Peralta closed the Infant and Toddler programs -- childcare serving children under 3 years of age -- at Laney College and COA for budgetary issues. Despite protests by students, faculty and staff at Laney College -- who collected over 2,000 signatures -- the programs were "consolidated" to Merritt College.

One justification for consolidating the program up the hill at Merritt was because of the renown Early Childhood Development class. Students could be used to offset laid off staff, in an educational environment.

Further Reading:
* Budget crunch kills Laney Children's Center
Berkeley Daily Planet (May 2006)
* Laney Community presses to reopen child care center
Berkeley Daily Planet (Aug. 2006)
* Low income and working poor parents protest the closure of Infant and Toddler Child Care Centers in the Bay Are and beyond
Poor News Network (Aug. 2006)
* Students fight loss of campus day care
Contra Costa Times (Aug. 2006)
* Building and Controvery at Peralta in '06
Berkeley Daily Planet (Jan 2007)
* Laney students need childcare
Laney Tower (March 2007)

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